President Trump paid homage to the passengers and crew who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, on Flight 93, when it crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
“Nineteen years ago, on this day, at this hour, on this field, 40 brave men and women triumphed over terror and gave their lives in defense of our nation,” Mr. Trump said during brief remarks in Shanksville Friday. “Today, we pay tribute to their sacrifice – and we mourn deeply for the nearly 3,000 precious and beautiful souls who were taken from us on September 11, 2001.”
He praised their bravery in deciding to fight back against the terrorists who had taken control of the plane, intending to steer it toward Washington.
“When terrorists raced to destroy the seat of our democracy, the forty of Flight 93 did the most American of things — they took a vote, and then they acted,” Mr. Trump said. “Together they charged the cockpit, they confronted the pure evil. And in their last act on this earth, they saved our Capitol.”
In his remarks, he mentioned the death of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but not Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, who was killed in an operation overseen by his predecessor, President Obama.
“Less than one year ago, American warriors took out the savage killer and leader of ISIS, al Baghdadi,” the president said. “Soon after, our warriors ended the brutal reign of the Iranian butcher, who murdered thousands of American service members, the world’s top terrorist, Qasem Soleimani. He’s dead.”
He also praised the first responders who lost their lives that day.
“As ash rained down, police officers, first responders and firefighters ran into fires of hell. On that day, more than 400 first responders gave their lives, including 23 New York City police officers, 37 port authority workers, and 343 New York City firefighters,” the president said.
Former Vice President Biden is also going to Shanksville Friday afternoon. While Mr. Trump was in Shanksville, the Democratic nominee was in New York City for the commemoration ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. He told reporters on Friday morning that he intended to focus on commemorating the anniversary of the attacks, and said that his campaign would not be advertising this day.
Associated Press reporter Alexandra Jaffe asked Biden at the 9/11 Memorial, what today means to him.
“It means I remember all my friends that I lost,” he replied. “It takes a lot of courage for someone that lost someone to come back today,” Biden continued. “I know from experience, losing my wife, my daughter, my son, you relive it, the moment as if it’s happening. It’s hard. It’s a wonderful memorial, but it’s hard. It just brings you back to the moment it happened, no matter how long, how much time passes. So I admire the families who come.”
Vice President Mike Pence also attended the ceremony in New York City on Friday morning, and he and Biden briefly bumped elbows in greeting.
Earlier, the president and first lady Melania Trump observed a moment of silence in a moment of silence in a conference room cabin on Air Force One at 8:46 a.m. while en route to Pennsylvania, to commemorate the moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center in 2001.
Nearly 3,000 people died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which also included attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia.
Nicole Sganga contributed to this report.